James Potter, Bully - Debate
Yeah and then Snape turned into a HUGE bully to all the students that came under his teaching once Dumbledore gave him a job. Sure James picked on Snape along with his friends when he was a TEENAGER, but not only did Snapecall his true friend, Lily, a Mudblood (as well as reject her help in front of a bunch of others) but he turns around and takes out all his anger on Harry. If one were to argue that he ended up “saving” Harry in the end then I’ll draw your attention to Neville…what did Neville ever do to deserve how Snape treated him? Or Hermione (how does anyone forget what he said when she got cursed and her teeth grew?)? Why does everyone forget how absolutely HORRIBLE Snape was to his students (when he was the adult and should know first hand what bullying felt like)? I adore Alan Rickman, don’t get me wrong, but to me Snape is 30X worse than James Potter ever was. I very much doubt that with the positions reversed with Snape dying and leaving a child and James living while teaching at Hogwards that James would have been a fraction as vindictive as Snape was. James grew up, he learned from his mistakes and became a better man…I doubt Lily would have gotten together with him if this wasn’t the case. There is no excuse for treating minors like he did (11-17 year old CHILDREN). Next to Umbridge he treated students horrible (probably the second worse before the Death Eaters took over Hogwarts)…Hell Barty treated students better and he was a Death Eater pretending to be a crazy ex-Auror…
Being a teenager doesn’t excuse James’s bullying. The point I was trying to make was we don’t ever seehim being a better man, so I find it hard to look past the image I have of him torturing Snape. Saying, “but Snape was a bully too and he was a grown-up,” doesn’t make James any less of a bully. And if I recall correctly, Barty tried to get students to do the Crucio curse on each other, which is far worse than anything Snape ever did. Snape might’ve been mean and overly strict to the students—he was a bitter and unhappy man—but he never hurt them and he died trying to protect them from Voldemort.
My whole argument was based on being a teenager as an excuse for his actions. I’m pointing out that James is the only one that is ever bashed or thought of horribly when there is a better case of someone acting like that. In the books we hear about James dying to help Lily and Harry have a better chance. The only reason we don’t get to see as much is because he is dead. But we constantly have Snape there who is the subject of James’ bullying and get to see his horrible actions. Snape didn’t do any of the things he did for Harry…he strictly did them for Lily who he seems to have been obsessed about. Even when he was dying he only wanted to see “Lily’s eyes” and didn’t even see Harry as Harry. I’ll admit we don’t get to see much of James…but how can we when the man was murdered in the first part of the book and we only have a chance to see him through others. Snape’s view is skewed so horribly that you almost have to completely throw it out. If we’re going to mention how they died…James died to protect others from Voldemort just like Snape did. The difference is that James apparently matured and Snape became a bitter man.
Key word: apparently. If your argument is to hold James up to someone you view as a much meaner bully and say “but he’s not as mean as this guy… and I heard he grew out of it,” well, that’s not much of a defense. It seems to me that James isn’t thought of horribly at all, in fact that everyone says he’s a great guy. And after seeing the way he acted at Hogwarts (like an egotistic little brat) I am inclined to disagree. True, we don’t see him apart from the flashbacks and ghosty bits. Maybe if I could have seen more of what he was like in between Hogwarts and his death, I would understand him. In fact, when I was reading the series for the first time, I expected to to see him redeem himself because we heard so much about how great and good he turned out. But we don’t get to see that. And I need proof.
Exactly. And the proof isn’t there, because the books are, after all, called Harry Potter, not James. The characterization is not there. It’s a gap. The fleshing-out of James isn’t there. Though, personally, I don’t go as far as not forgiving him. He did make the ultimate sacrifice for his son — granted, it’s what any parent would do, I believe. Considering the fully developed, layered, complexities of Snape, it’s a little easier for me to be more sympathetic to our dear curmudgeonly friend Severus. Knowing his actions and motives, and that we, along with Harry, don’t know James as a moving and living charater, Snape really was the bravest, most loyal and arguably heroic character in the books. He was resentful and spiteful and acidly sarcastic, but he challenged Harry to be better and protected him in many places, protected Draco, protected even Hermione and Ron when Lupin transformed, he was genuinely remorseful and bitter all his life for his role in the prophecy and his worst memory of insulting Lily and he even asked for the sparing of Lily’s life to the LORD OF ALL MAGICAL DARKNESS FOR CRIPES’ SAKES. And he sent out the patronus doe to guide Harry to Godric’s sword— which is incredibly revealing, I think, of the good that Harry saw, and why he named, what seemed to me his favorite, son, Albus Severus. Open up page 687 of Deathly Hallows (hardcover) and you’ll see what I mean.
Also, I replied earlier that I don’t know what Lily saw in James. I’d like to add that, J.K. Rowling’s use of love in Harry Potter is primarily not romantic. This is fine and wonderful, of course; there are plenty and plenty of other books about romantic love, and love of all kinds is powerful. But, she certainly doesn’t spend much time using romantic love as a means of developing, strengthening, and making it a platform as growth between two characters. Snape’s love is romantic as it suits his Byronic Hero status. There’s really not much deep character romance in HP, and that’s fine, but even so, it’s all executed a little borderline dodgy. Harry and Ginny — I never really bought it; I certainly didn’t like the way Ginny was excluded severely in the last book. Hermione and Ron? Hermione was like a sister to Harry, is often the explanation; she wasn’t like a sister to Ron, too?? I never understood that, but then… regretfully this is where I realize I am talking about shipping and I quietly skedaddle.